Ideas: Deconstructions of experience that humour mocks and politics holds us captive to
Rochus Misch recounts his boss’s humour in his book (The Last Witness);
One joke that Rochus’ boss liked to tell was at the expense of his pompous Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering. Goering was a man forever designing himself new uniforms and giving himself new orders and decorations.
“One day,“ Hitler used to say, “Mrs. Goering came into the bedchamber and found her husband waving his Field Marshall‘s baton over his underwear.
“‘Hermann, darling, what are you doing?‘ she enquired.
“‘I am promoting my underpants to overpants!
Ahh, those are good times when we can share our humour with our friends. It brings out the ‘human-ness’ in everyone.
But there are some people that we do not want ourselves to feel any empathy with, such as Rochus’ boss [to even utter his name can put a chill on things], even though those close to him are consistent in recounting his human profile;
“To read the memoirs of Hitler’s valet, Heinz Linge, is to read account after account of Hitler as a charming host, flirt and scholar. Whether Hitler is kissing the hands of the married ladies as they leave his dinners or officiating at meatball cooking competitions in his private residence, or changing a light bulb on his own rather than calling for assistance, Linge portrays Hitler as a normal, engaging human being and only occasionally hints at the ruthlessness by which Hitler has come to be known.”
There is an interesting aspect about ‘history’ and how we ‘reconstruct’ the past through the lenses of historians;
“History—I suppose everything, really—is of necessity learned through filters. What we read is filtered through the perception and bias of the writer. What we experience is filtered through our own prejudices and expectation. We tend to agree with the filters that are consistent with our own. We doubt the filters that make us question what we think we know, however that might be defined. … In the study of military history, the source of our filters can usually be readily identified. Whoever wins, writes the history books. Of course, victory is a powerful filter itself. That is why it usually takes later generations to identify when the victor might have had less than clean hands, or to tell the stories of those on the losing side.” – David Mitchell, ‘Things Said and Done: What does evil look like?”
This thread that I am writing didn’t start from reflections on historical portraits of evil, and it is not about debating what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’. It started from the difficulty I was having in sharing my view as to how empathic, compassionate people, dedicated to making the world a better place [e.g. Sir Ken Robinson, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity’ ] could be a force for bringing on social dysfunction.
Senator Joseph McCarthy’s attack on ‘communist sympathizers’ parallels Hitler’s attack on Jews; i.e. Hitler’s views were ‘literally racist’ only in his speeches. In his thoughts shared with those close to him, he saw the Jews as a group bonded by ‘spirit’ more-so than by genes, which made them ‘social and political subversives’, in his view;
“Jewry was a not a special race, but a spiritual community bound not least to the fate of those of its members persecuted since time immemorial. This interpretation had its roots in the idea that Jewry, whose existence he considered a “sad victory of spirit over flesh”, had been responsible for all the evils in history and for which one day it must atone. He himself had made a start in wiping out Jewry, from which humanity had to be “liberated”. There could therefore be no talk of a fundamental deviation from his doctrine.” – Erich Kempka, Hitler’s Chauffeur
In some twisted sense, then, Joseph McCarthy and Adolf Hitler were coming from compassion and empathy for ‘the good people’, their good brothers whose well-being is threatened by subversives. There were not simply ‘out for themselves’ and in fact, getting rid of subversives was a ‘dirty business’ that was not pleasant but that ‘somebody had to do’, for the good of the ‘good brotherhood’. How we see them today, as David Mitchell points out, is through the filters of history which treat ‘losers’ very differently from ‘winners’.
Now, what emerges for me, in all of these inquiries, is one very deep and common basic theme. It is a theme that connects Ken Robinson with Adolph Hitler and with Joseph McCarthy. It is the implicit notion that the state of the world is ‘caused’ by the actions of the inhabitants. In Ken Robinson’s view, we can alter the future of the world by changing our educational system. He claims that our educational system has been strip-mining our youth for a single commodity, for the skills that will fuel the engines of industry, and that we are ‘ruthlessly squandering’ the tremendous talents of our children. He says;
“I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity.” [and re-orient our education system to cultivate/harvest it]
Such a statement, at a minimum, distorts the notion of ‘ecology’ in that instead of mutual interdependence across all species, we impute to humans, the power to ‘change the unfolding future of the world’.
In fact, is this anthropo-megalomanic thought not implicitly built into the notion of ‘great ideas’ and the ‘creative commons’ of TED presentations? What is an ‘idea’, really, … and are ‘great ideas’, the ‘original ideas that have value’, which are at the core of Ken’s view of human creativity, like ‘programs’ that, when installed in the local centre-of-direction of individual humans, can drive the world forward towards a desired future?
I know that I am embarking here on a scenario that runs radically counter to our mainstream belief system, but my claim is that this is what the philosophies of Nietzsche, Lamarck, Mach, Bohm, Emerson, Poincaré, Mcluhan and Schrödinger imply. They all suggest that evolution is a process in which outside-inward influence (the orchestrating influence of the transforming spatial-plenum) predominates over inside-outward outflux (what humans make happen).
The point is that ‘what humans make happen’ is something ‘secondary’ because humans are something secondary. As Emerson says, the genius of nature (the evolutionary force) not only animates the organism, it creates it. The creativity of the pear tree that manifests in the pear tree’s ability to ‘make pears happen’ is a secondary creativity to that of the evolutionary force since the evolutionary force both inhabits and creates the pear tree. This is Nietzsche’s premise also. The ‘will to power’ (the evolutionary force) is an ultimate animating source; a ‘UAS’ [playing a role like God] that is immanent in our living space. The ultimate animating source is not split up into innumerable point-source sparks or flames within individual ‘living organisms’ so that ‘the buck starts here’, in the interior of men. Locally originating behaviour is Fiktion born of discursive convenience that we tend to confuse for ‘reality’.
The new physics claims that we, as material forms, are ‘ripple structures’ in the continually transforming, energy-charged spatial plenum. This is a claim that ‘checks out’, that we can validate, and what it does is gives us a fluid-dynamic view of the world. The ‘hurricane’ has a local visible form which encourages us to ‘personify it’ and to impute to it ‘its own locally originating internal process driven and directed behaviour’, and such ‘personification’ [which imputes to the hurricane the same model that we impute to our human organism-self] implies that the ultimate animating source of the hurricane lies within its interior, … rather than deriving from the invisible, nonlocal field-flow of the energy-charged spatial plenum.
The new physics, and Nietzsche, would say that we have got this backwards. The human organism is like the hurricane. Instead of personifying the hurricane, we should be hurricanizing the person.
But Ken Robinson, who quotes Al Gore in his talk, who in turn cites Rachel Carson and her book ‘Silent Spring’ as alerting us to ‘how our actions are killing the world live in’, is also assuming that we humans have the power to change the world we live in; i.e. by way of creativity and original ideas, to construct a desired future state of the world.
The recipe for doing this, according to Ken, is to revise our educational system so that it recognizes “the richness of human capacity” and cultivates creativity in the upcoming generation which he defines as the capacity for coming up with ‘original ideas that have value’ which can then be operationalized through concerted human action.
But let’s go back to Rachel Carson’s observations, because there is something amiss here. The concept of ecological interdependence suggests that we humans are ‘a strand in the web-of-life’ as the Amerindian belief tradition suggested, and thus we are not ‘in control’. And in fact, the new physics demonstrates that the future state of the web-of-life is not determined by the actions of the visible, local, material-form based ‘strands’ in the web-of-life, but predominantly derives outside-inwardly, from the invisible, nonlocal, energy-charged spatial plenum [the ‘field’ dynamic].
Yes, its true that we can invent chemicals or develop toxic nuclear wastes that transform the landscape, but that does not mean that ‘we have the power to control the future’. According to Mach’s principle, like all inhabitants, our dynamics are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants. Since the space of the earth’s biosphere is a finite (spherical) unbounded space, the model is not one of ‘control over the future’ but more like running our car inside the garage, conditioning the dynamics of habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning our inhabitant dynamics. The ripples in the spatial flow-plenum can’t become so violent that they destroy the flow they are included in. That would be like the whirlpool in the ocean sucking the entire ocean down inside of itself; it would be a case of the figure devouring the ground. That is a topological impossibility that only psychological delusion could hold to be ‘real’.
An analogy would be the ‘gymnastic team’ where many ‘material forms’ or ‘strands’ participate within a web-like structure (e.g. a ‘human pyramid), where one strand in the mutually interdependent spatial-relational web can bring about the collapse of the web. In fact, the individual strand can only ‘trigger’ the collapse, by ‘disturbing the balance’.
But such imagery does not account for ‘field’, the invisible, nonlocal ultimate animating/engendering source otherwise known as ‘the energy-charged spatial plenum’, in which the material forms are secondary, transient, flow-features (ripple structures). These secondary features in the unfolding flow of the universe are participants in evolution, in the same manner that convection cells in the flow of the ocean/atmosphere are participants in evolution. The relation between habitat and inhabitant in this fluid, energy-flow sense, is given by Mach’s principle; “The dynamics of habitat [spatial flow-plenum] are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants [flow-features] at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants [flow-features] are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat [spatial flow-plenum].
As we know, the earth has undergone cycles of ‘collapse and recovery’ where many forms have disappeared and where new forms have emerged. It is unreasonable to believe that certain malicious members of the collection of forms could have CAUSED the demise of the collective (ecosystem), and if so, their causal powers would have been limited to ‘destruction’ like that of the suicide-bomber since they were no longer around to orchestrate the re-populating of the new ecosystem-collective.
Instead of ‘destruction/degeneration’ and ‘regeneration’, the notion of ‘transformation’ appears to be more appropriate since the universe continues on, as does the earth’s biosphere-space, while the material forms within it come and go. That is, generation and degeneration go on simultaneously and continually within the biosphere in the same sort of manner as with the generation and degeneration of convection cells in ocean and atmosphere.
The notion that one strand in the web-of-life has control over the flourishing or demise of the web-of-life it is included in, suggests an ‘inflated ego’ on the part of that one strand.
There is a different way of looking at what is going on here, that departs from our mainstream standard ‘doer-deed’ way of viewing [which Nietzsche terms ‘Fiktion’]. The different way opens the door to the notion of ‘field’, the outside-inward influencing, invisible, nonlocal influence that characterizes our energy-charged spatial plenum, … that predominates over the inside-outward ‘doer-deed’ dynamics of local, visible, material forms.
When we include the primacy of ‘field’ over ‘matter’ in our worldview, as is demanded by the new physics, this reduces our ‘doer-deed’ world view where we see material forms moving about and interacting in an empty operating theatre [absolute Euclidian space] to a secondary ‘Fiktion’, a ‘total Fiktion’ but a ‘useful Fiktion’ as Nietsche says,… ‘schaumkommen’ as Schrödinger says, and ‘maya’ as Hindu Vedanta long ago said.
Let’s not forget then, that ‘TED’ presentations and Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation is based on what we can do with human creativity, original ideas, that we feel can ‘make a difference’ to how the world unfolds.
This whole thesis is contradicted by the Nietzschean thesis, that ‘evolution is a fluid process in which outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward outflux.
The TED presentations address only the ‘inside-outward’ aspect as if it were ‘determinative’. It speaks about human creativity in terms of ‘original ideas that have value’ (Ken Robinson’s definition of creativity) and implies that the operationalizing of these ‘original ideas’ CHANGES THE WORLD.
This notion of an ‘original idea that has value’ meshes with the over-simplistic view of the organism as a little ‘powerboater’; i.e. a ‘local material system with its own locally originating, internally powered and directed behaviour.’.
Thus, the TED ‘creative commons’ view of the value of ideas implies that when we drop copies of the idea (the ‘program’) into the seat of direction within each of these powerboater-organisms, we can use this program to coordinate the actions of the many and CHANGE THE WORLD.
But there is a problem here. These ideas do not, and cannot, incorporate what is already going on in the spatial plenum within which they must be operationalized. That is, ‘ideas’ are formulated in the inside-outward pushing doer-deed terms; i.e. as if in an absolute fixed, empty and infinite operating space [Euclidian space] but the ‘catch’ is that the ‘real-world’ space in which they will be operationalized is continually transforming, and the ‘transformation of space’ is a more comprehensive way of understanding ‘change’ than the ‘doer-deed’ operationalizing of ‘ideas’. As McLuhan observed in his work that inquires into the predominating of the transforming effects of the ‘medium’ over the activities of ‘content’;
“Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message. In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or Cadillacs. — Marshall McLuhan,‘Understanding Media’
Now, the “original idea that had value” that Henry Ford had, to build a factory that turned out Ford automobiles, was formulated in the inside-outward predominating terms of ‘what things do’. But this ‘doer-deed’ world view, did not, and could not, contemplate how the dynamics of spatial transformation (the larger view of dynamics) would be affected by interposing the operationalizing of the idea into an already continuously transforming spatial habitat.
Here, we can see Mach’s principle at work;
“The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants.”
A simple example illustrating that spatial transformation is a more comprehensive view of these dynamic, can bring out the fact that farm-workers will migrate to factory work, and that roads will show new wear and tear (and new roads will be built) to bring in supplies to the factory and to deliver the output. Services (cafeterias, gas stations will emerge along the new supply and delivery routes and will go out of business on older routes that experience a decline in traffic. The factory will become a ‘hive of activity’ and will have a notional centre; e.g. Detroit. And one way of telling the story will be in doer-deed terms of the activities of the factory, as in the original ‘idea’ form, … but the ‘bigger story’ will capture how the habitat is transformed by the introduction of the factory into its continual spatial transformation. What the factory does is secondary to the continuing story of the transforming habitat, a continuing story that speaks of the land and the people in it.
But ‘what the factory does’ is what is presented in ‘the original idea that has value’. The operationalizing of original ideas is thus, in general, secondary to the spatial transformation that associates with their operationalization.
This note started off with the point that ‘humans’, as ‘humans that have families and live their lives naturally’ have a tendency to play around with ‘ideas’ [The tendency is amplified by the use of language]. They may come to believe that the operationalizing of ‘ideas’ is the pathway to constructing a desired future. Because the desired future is seen as so much better than ‘the present’, they are willing to both inflict and endure considerable pain and conflict to ‘achieve it’, by ‘operationalizing their ideas’. But as Nietzsche would say, the world we live in is not determined by the doers of deeds, the world we live in is a continual ‘becoming’ and it is only a convenient Fiktion for us to reify the transient material forms in this spatial-relational ‘becoming’ and re-render the world dynamic AS IF IT WERE DETERMINED BY THE ACTIONS/INTERACTIONS OF MATERIAL FORMS REIFIED AS ‘BEINGS’, ‘material forms’ that we impute to be ‘powerboaters’ with their own locally originating, inboard power-driven and steerage.
The ultimate animating source is, by this smoke and mirror game of inventing ‘beings’, imputed to reside within the beings as a kind of God-in-the-machine that is the first-cause source of development of form, behaviour and organization. ‘Field’, the invisible, nonlocal primary evolutionary force, is no longer to be seen in this re-rendering of the world dynamic starting from reified material forms (secondary flow features; i.e. ripple structures in the energy-charged spatial plenum). In place of ‘field’, we have a notional ‘God-in-the-machine’, an ultimate animating source that we impute to reside within the ‘being’, the secondary material form that we have reified and synthetically made ‘primary’ so that the whole sourcing of the world dynamic is directionally inverted so that inside-outward outflux (the visible, material, deeds of doers) appears to predominate over outside-inward influence (the invisible, nonlocal, non-material field dynamic). Or, more precisely, we ignore the invisible, nonlocal, non-material field dynamic that is the ultimate animating source responsible for the development of material form, behaviour and organization, and we accept as ‘reality’, the visible and tangible material form dynamics. We thus confuse ‘idealization/Fiktion/schaumkommen’ for ‘reality’.
The ‘creative commons of TED’ which looks for human creativity and ‘original ideas’ to ‘save us from ourselves’ and to restore health and harmony to the world (as if we, as a strand-in-the-web-of-life had such powers!), is encouraging a kind of megalo-manic anthropocentrism as the ‘solution’ to rising socio-environmental dysfunction.
That a collective ‘insanity’ (the confusing of ‘idealization’ that is Fiktion, for ‘reality’, imputing material forms [‘organisms’, ‘humans’] to have within them the ultimate, first-cause animating-source-power) prevails in the TED undertaking, is the view that follows from the assumptions of Nietzsche, Lamarck, Mach, Bohm, Emerson, Poincaré, Mcluhan and Schrödinger, all of whom argue that evolution is a process in which outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward outflux, the latter equating to the operationalizing of creative, original ideas through people and technology.
History shows that there have been a number of people who have come up with ‘ideas’ that have ‘captured the imagination’ of a people-collective and who have orchestrated their individual and collective actions in the operationalizing of the ‘idea’. In many cases, it is understood that in the midst of the operationalizing process, existing structures have to be destroyed to make way for the new structures, however, the assumption is that ‘the ends more than justify the means’ that must be used to ‘get there’.
We can summarize the ‘scenario’ that has been discussed to this point fairly simply. We have two competing world views,
(A) the Nietzschean/new-physics view in which an invisible, nonlocal spatial influence [‘field’] is the primary ‘evolutionary force’ and the material forms that gather and regather within the flow (the transforming spatial plenum) are secondary aspects in the manner of whorls in the flow [ripple structures in the energy-charged spatial plenum]. In this world view, outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward outflux, or, ‘field’ predominates over ‘matter’ since it both inhabits and engenders matter.
(B) the currently popular Materialist view in which dynamics are re-rendered starting from material forms, by lifting the forms out of the flow-of-becoming [of the transforming spatial-plenum] and objectifying them as local ‘beings’; i.e. locally existing things in themselves notionally equipped with their own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour [i.e. their own locally originating, internal process based development of form, behaviour and organization]. This is a world view in which inside-outward outflux, the results of the actions or deeds of local beings, predominates over the outside-inward influence of the habitat in which these ‘material beings’ are situationally (and transiently) included.
An education system that cultivates original ideas inevitably puts ideas into an unnatural predominance over live experience; i.e. the operationalizing of an ‘original idea’ requires that people submit to playing roles in the operationalizing dynamic. Note that this is not like ‘situational learning’ wherein the individual is letting his creativity actualize in the manner in which his behaviour is orchestrated by the dynamics of the space he is included in (letting ‘outside-inward influence be the ‘leader of the dance’). The operationalizing of ‘good ideas’ which have become ‘knowledge’ in an ‘educated society’ mesh with the notion of the organism as a ‘material being’ with an internal seat of ‘first-cause’ direction/steerage. The ‘original idea’ is used together with this model of the organism, in the manner of a program installed in the seat of direction of the machine. The people participating in the operationalizing of the original idea; i.e. the ‘educated society’, must give priority to their roles in operationalizing the idea in an inside-outward direction; i.e. they must open themselves up to the ‘loading of the program’;
This is ‘at the bottom’ of what an ‘educated collective’ looks like when we model the human organism as a ‘local material system’ with its own locally originating, internal process driven power-drive and direction’. Human ‘beings’ as local machines are subordinated to the power of the original idea. This is one model of an ‘educated collective’ where we drive our behaviour forth (inside-outwardly) under the direction of the ‘best available knowledge’ or the ‘best original idea’.
As Ken Robinson indicated, we didn’t always have such ‘education systems’, they came about in the 19th century to support the ‘original ideas that have value’ associated with industrialization [e.g. Henry Ford’s original ideas]. But today, as he points out, we have systems of education everywhere in the world and they all feature a ‘hierarchy’ of subjects that puts maths and language on top and then humanities and then art at the bottom.
One might conclude that the development of ‘the education system’ has been in the service of cultivating ‘ideas’, and the ‘operationalizing of ideas’ has been hijacking individual and collective behaviour, turning it into an inside-outward driving activity, whereas, it is in nature, orchestrated by the unfolding dynamics of habitat wherein outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward outflux [‘what things do’].
Lev Vygotsky notes, in contradicting the concept formation model of Piaget [which dominates educational theory in our society] that in natural learning, spontaneous concept formation predominates over scientific concept formation. In other words, situational learning naturally predominates over structured learning. It follows that situational creativity (sailboater creativity which manifests in how we let our behaviours be orchestrated ‘outside-inwards’ by the dynamics of habitat we are situationally included in, acknowledging that we derive our power and steerage from the habitat dynamic), predominates in our natural equipment over assertive creativity (powerboater creativity which manifests by the operationalizing of ideas in an inside-outward driving manner, as if our source of power and steerage were ‘internal’ and originated ‘within us’.).
There is thus controversy over the idea that we need a formal ‘education system’ that elevates the realm of ‘ideas’ and inside-outward driving implementation of ideas, over the realm of our included-in-the-transforming spatial-plenum experience. Education as we are deploying it today, as Ken Robinson describes it and in his vision of how ‘it should operate’, suggests that ideas should predominate in shaping our behaviour, and that the orchestrating influence of the habitat-dynamic we are situationally included in, should take ‘second priority’. In this view, where the best original ideas are operationalized, we become slaves to the operationalizing of ideas. This is the basis for ‘social Darwinism’ where the assumption is that the social collective with the best ideas will prevail over the rest. Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin, who subscribes to this, believes that democratic process must be set aside so that operationalizing of the best ideas can predominate;
“It is one of the contradictions of a democratic society in a highly advanced technological world, … to make rational political decisions, you have to have a knowledge which is accessible only to a very few people.” [Lewontin continues by noting;] “that different people have different interests, and therefore the struggle is not a moral one, it’s a political one. It’s always a political one, and that’s the most important thing you have to recognize… that you may be struggling to make the world go in one direction, … [while] somebody else is struggling to make it go in another direction, and the question is; who has power? And if there’s a differential in power, and if you haven’t got it and they have, then you have to do something to gain power, which is to organize. “ – Richard Lewontin
Lewontin is correctly describing the political process.
But is ‘political process’ based on the operationalizing of ‘ideas’ ‘written in stone’? It was not the organizing process of the Iroquois in their much admired Five Nation Confederacy;
“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women.” — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders
Do you not see an ‘entire pattern’ here that differentiates our current ‘civilization’ on the basis of the unnatural predominance we give to the operationalizing of ideas as a ‘way of life’, as a socio-political, individual and collective organizing approach?
Rejecting this approach doesn’t mean that we have to return to primitive conditions.
My sense is that language has served to ‘deconstruct’ our experience. An example may serve to illustrate how this occurs.
When men and women mingle, emotions stir and sexual intercourse may result. One can undergo this experience ‘without a word being spoken’. In nature, the union of opposites is a general model for dynamics. Imbalances in the thermal field of the atmosphere engender ‘whorls’ or ‘convection cells’ where hot and cold seek union so as to resolve their differences by way of restoring/cultivating balance and harmony.
The ‘operands’ in this unfolding process have an inside-outward driving behaviour, but the dynamics of habitat seems to be the mother-ground for this inhabitant-interaction; i.e. outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward asserting behaviour. The intercourse is unplanned and it unfolds out of the general living space dynamic in which both participants are included.
In sign language, one of the earliest signs was probably the sign for sexual intercourse where one curls the fingers of one hand to make a hole and one uses an erect finger of the other hand to thrust in and out of the hole to signify ‘sexual intercourse’; i.e. to formulate the ‘idea’ of sexual intercourse that can serve to drive the process in reverse; i.e. to have the ‘idea’ driving the dynamic behaviour rather than waiting for it to silently unfold as ‘comes naturally’. As Giambattista Vico observed, ‘cohabitation’ of male and female didn’t have to start out as an ‘idea’ or ‘intention’. The early man and woman who ran from the thunderstorm may have found themselves seeking shelter in the same cave. Instead of fornicating in the forest as they migrated with the reindeer, the experience of cohabitation may have come in this sort of unfolding experience and because it was enjoyable, it was one of those things that turn out to be a ‘keeper’. After it was established, the sign language for ‘your place or mine’ would have followed naturally, so that the idea of cohabitation could drive the dynamic behaviour.
What language has also brought with it is logic. According to logicians, the ‘telos of logic’ is ‘avoiding falsehood’. Language allows us to;
“construct a suite of premises that guarantee the truth of an argument”
Logic and the biological model of the ‘organism’ — as a local material system with its own locally originating intellection and purpose directed behaviour— meld together to further complexify ‘understanding’.
The male partner, equipped with language and logic, may conjecture as to the ‘purpose’ that is driving his partner’s behaviour, and pose the query;
“Are you doing this [participating in sexual intercourse] because it gives you pleasure, because you love me, because you want a child, because you want to seduce someone into giving you food, shelter and security on a permanent basis, or because you are competing with the other women that are seeking my attention?”
But wait a minute! It was language that allowed us to ‘deconstruct’ our natural experience into ‘ideas’, the sign-language symbol for intercourse captured the experience as an ‘idea’ so that one could use the idea to drive behaviour; i.e. one could operationalize the idea whenever and wherever one wanted, no need to wait for a natural unfolding, for the ‘tide to rise’ or for the ‘sun to rise’ or for the outside-inward influence to predominate over the inside-outward assertive action. The idea, the deconstructed experience, could be operationalized in a forward driven manner, at will. The rising stimulus associated with natural ‘play’ that would orchestrate the sexual activity could be obsoleted by operationalizing the idea and the relative prodominance that started of as ‘outside-inward influence predominates over inside outward assertive influence INVERTS and inside-outwards assertive influence takes over.
Insofar as the male partner sees himself and his partner as biological organisms according to the definition of an organism as a local material being with locally originating, intellection and purpose directed behaviour [thanks again to language where, as John Stuart Mill points out, ‘every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined’], logic whose telos is avoiding falsehood, may put him on the trail of establishing ‘which purpose’ is directing the behaviour of his partner; pleasure, love, motherhood, food/shelter/security, jealousy/competition?
This logical inquiry is entirely language-based and it assumes the truth of the biological model of the organism which is also language-based. If the individual is behaving naturally and letting their behaviour be orchestrated by the spatial dynamics they are included in, then their experience is simply their experience and there is no need to use language to deconstruct their experience.
But if a person begins to believe in the oversimplistic, mechanistic, language based biological model of the organism; i.e. if they believe that they are local material systems with their own locally originating, intellect and purpose-directed behaviours, then they may end up questioning their own purpose in the relationship as well as that of their partner. That is, they may become prisoners of their own language-and-logic based deconstructing of experience.
In general, we have the option to let our behaviour be orchestrated by the unfolding dynamics of habitat, or to employ ‘ideas’ to drive our behaviour from within.
One can imagine the sailing vessel where the crew starts off by letting their behaviours be orchestrated by the dynamics of wind and currents they are situationally included in. In this process, outside-inward influence predominates over inside-outward assertive expression. Meanwhile, language would allow the deconstructing of this experience into ideas; -sheeting in the mainsail or reefing it, hoisting the jib, hoving to etc. etc. so that it becomes feasible, given the following;
… for one person using language to deconstruct the experience, to re-construct it in the reverse direction so that ‘inside-outside asserting influence’ predominates over ‘outside-inward orchestrating influence’. This can lead to conflict between the inside-outward asserting idea-driven agents and the habitat-dynamic based outside-inward orchestrating influence. The captain of the Titanic was not sensitive enough to the natural precedence of the outside-inward influence and thus the inside-outward asserting idea-driven collective drew the short end of the straw, as will always, ultimately, be the case.
In general, ‘ideas’ that can be operationalized are ‘made of’ deconstructed experience which can be reconstructed ‘going in the opposite direction’ [inside-outward asserting rather than outside-inward orchestrated] using the model of the human organism as a ‘powerboater’; i.e. as a local material system [machine] with its own locally originating, internal process driven [idea-driven] behaviour.
What is wrong with the current educational system, in this case, is that it subordinates experience to ideas.
One might say that this is a problem with global society as a whole. Language and logic are ‘tools that have run away with the workman’, as Emerson says.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
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